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People losing trust in their governments after tidal waves of bribes, corruption

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
July 9th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For many citizens of the world, bribery of government officials is a daily fact of life. In a poll conducted by Transparency International, more than 50 percent of the global respondents said that the corruption within their own countries has worsened over the past two years. This has led to an overall mistrust in law and governments worldwide.  

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Political parties are seen as the most corrupt class of organization in some 51 countries. Thirty-six countries name the police as the most corrupt, while another 20 countries say the judiciary forms the worst their government has to offer.

Based on a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries, more than 50 percent of the respondents said that they thought their government is controlled by small groups and special interests. In nations such as Cyprus, Greece, Lebanon, Russia, Tanzania and Ukraine, that number jumps above 80 percent.

"The majority of people around the world believe that their government is ineffective at fighting corruption and corruption in their country is getting worse," Transparency International said in the report.

Liberia and Sierra Leone rank at the bottom in terms of corruption, with more than three in four of those surveyed saying they had paid a bribe in the past year.

Bribery rates were over 50 percent in Cambodia, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, India, Tanzania, Kenya, Libya, Mozambique, Uganda, Yemen and Zimbabwe.

At the other end of the spectrum, the countries reporting the least amount of graft, Australia, Belgium, Portugal, Malaysia, Finland, Denmark and Croatia were among the countries reporting a bribery rate of less than five percent.

Somewhere between 5 percent and 9.9 percent of respondents in the United States and United Kingdom said they had paid a bribe.

A Transparency spokesman pointed to a link between poverty and graft, saying eight of the 10 countries with the highest bribery rates are African.

According to the poll, corruption has also worsened in most Arab countries since their 2011 revolutions, even though anger with corrupt officials was a major reason for the uprisings.

Most importantly, the survey suggests that corruption cuts across societies and demographics.

Some large, sophisticated economies have governments that are perceived to be under the control of an elite few such as Italy, Spain, Belgium and Israel.

What needs to be done? Transparency International says authorities must make sure corrupt officials do not escape punishment.

"Impunity is anathema to the fight against corruption and, especially in the judiciary and law enforcement sectors, is a direct challenge to the rule of law," the group said.

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